Thanks to EPI Mobile Health Solutions, I am able to get my hand on the EPI Mini. It is their latest product after the success of EPI Life (a mobile phone with ECG feature). With EPI Mini, you basically have an ECG (Electrocardiography) recorder in the palm of your hand. It is shaped like a pager and communicates via Bluetooth to your smartphone (currently, it supports Android and will support iOS in future).
If you take a quick glance at the EPI Mini, you will never suspect that it is a high tech device. On the surface, it has 3 sensors that enable the device to record multiple leads via different configurations of holding the device. The ECG chip in this device is the same chip commonly found in conventional 12-lead ECG machines.
And with the sensors, it has eliminated the needs for additional wires/electrodes, gel, plasters or wearable components.
The EPI Mini has a simple interface. On the front, it has a button (with a heart shape) that is an “enter” key. The buttons with arrow up/down are for navigating the menu.
Here is a closer look at the buttons.
The battery is embedded inside the device.
On each side of the device is the sensor.
Closer look at this sensor stripe.
A closer look at the sensor stripe. The power on/off button also acts as the “back” button while navigating the menu.
On the right side, it has another sensor.
On the left side, it has a mini USB port for charging.
To perform ECG recording, you will need both hands to place on the sensors. Before I go on to talk about the readings, here is a video to let you see how the recording is performed.
From the video, you can see that it is very easy and fast (30 seconds) to perform the ECG. The next question that you may want to ask is “What can I do with this reading?”
Before this, you will need to ensure: –
- You have a user name and password from EPI (will be provided if you buy the product)
- You have downloaded the EPI mHealth Lite app on Google Play Store.
- You have linked the device with your phone via Bluetooth.
This is what happen after you took a reading:
- You will need to decide if you want to end the session or send the data to your smartphone (if you choose to send the results later, you can go to file manager on the device to retrieve the data).
- Click on send and it will transmit the data to the smartphone via Bluetooth.
- Once received, the smartphone will then upload the data to EPI Health Concierge (EPI server with technician manning the service 24 x 7).
- Once EPI receives this data, the technician will analysis the readings.
- They will then send an SMS to your phone to update the results (it takes a few minutes).
Here is how the app looks like.
Basically, if you have the device, it will have the server and device “connected”. On the lower portion of the app, you can see 4 main selections. They are: ECG, Blood Glucose, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol.
Only the ECG is automatically updated (after you transmit the data from the device). The rest of the selections are manual inputs from (maybe) various health devices you have.
Here is the data page of the ECG option.
Here is how a typical ECG graph looks like.
And this is something that it not good (I suspect it is due to temporary disconnection of the fingers from the sensor).
Typically, it is difficult for a non-trained (in reading the ECG) to judge if there is any issue based on the graph. Here are some SMSes from EPI Health Concierge about my ECG results (when a new user takes the first ECG on the device, it is considered the reference or baseline ECG. So, the results are studied based on the Baseline).
Here is a few SMSes that showed NG (or No good) or abnormal results.
In all cases of abnormal results, EPI Health Concierge actually called me to understand my situation (this is not stated in their terms and conditions but it is a value-add to their customers). Of course, as I was testing the device, all of them are false alarms.
I actually requested EPI to show me some actual samples are abnormal results. Here are some of them.
Where to buy the EPI Mini
At this moment, you might wonder how you can get this device. This device is sold at S$199 inclusive of 60 ECGs recordings for 6 months.
However, it is not purchased off the shelf. You will need to contact EPI. And here is something (after talking to people) that might put people off.
It is a subscription-based service depending on the number of times you take the reading. The usual subscription starts from S$19.90 per month.
At first, I did not see the benefits. However, after meeting up with EPI, and reading cases of healthy people dying suddenly, I realized that abnormality in our heart sometimes cannot be detected.
With the EPI Mini in your pocket, if you are feeling unwell, you can immediately take a reading and send it for analysis. This reading can also be used on your regular doctor visits to discuss. I feel that the chances of recording an abnormal heart rhythm will be much higher than going to a doctor later for checkups.
I understand that there are portable ECG units (with cables, wires and etc) that hospital issued to patients with history. None of them (at this moment) is as portable as this EPI Mini. You may doubt the accuracy but I guess speed is equally important. Here is study from EPI on the accuracy of this device.
Intensive clinical trials have proven EPI Mini to be highly accurate in detecting abnormalities in ECG recordings:
- 98% accuracy when compared to a 12-lead ECG which is commonly done in hospitals or clinics settings
- 67% positive diagnosis of heart conditions in patients with palpitations as compared to Holter’s 64%
*based on clinical studies of EPI Life, which contains the same ECG module as the EPI Mini.
So, if you do the math, it is just a small sum of money to safeguard against heart abnormalities (if you take the reading). To find out more, follow the link below.
If you are worried about their product, their product actually receive FDA and CE Mark.